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Tour de France: The Tour reaches its peak: a podium, seven contenders and two staples

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Tour de France: The Tour reaches its peak: a podium, seven contenders and two staples

Less than two minutes separate the second (Urn) from the eighth (Mas) before the decisive days of the Pyrenees.

Pogacar and Carapaz at the entrance to the Saint Gaudens goal.AFP
  • Classification General after stage 16

In this Tour de France, to Tadej pogacar he is respected but above all he is ignored. Such was his superiority in the Laval time trial and in the first mountain stage in the Colombire that no one has thought about the possibility of dethroning him for a long time. Why waste time ?, think those who should be his rivals for the victory in Paris. From the first two Tours of the Outlaw Lance ArmstrongIn 1999 and 2000, no leader had reached the final week of the race more than five minutes ahead of the runner-up. The Slovenian is intractable, at no stage has he yielded a single second with respect to any of his rivals and only a misfortune in the form of a fall or total fainting could take away his second Tour in a row.

So, having seen what I have seen, it would not be strange that Pogacar He would give him these days to attack and that no one would even try to follow him, something that already happened at the closing of the Alps in Tignes. The war for those who succeed him in the general is another and promises to be very demanding. That is why this Tuesday, the day of transition and truce, everyone reserved strength (there was an acceleration in the final tack, more cosmetic than effective) in a half-mountain day in which the Austrian won alone. Patrick Konrad, culminating in a large escape. The decisive stages of the rest of the Tour will be on Wednesday and Thursday in which, in the absence of Saturday’s time trial, a compact top 10 will have to be ordered as few times at this point.

Wednesday’s is the queen stage of this edition, ending in Col de Portet, a new colossus (16.3 km at 8.7%, with the summit at 2,209 meters) that has only been climbed once, in 2018, with a victory of Nairo quintana. Before, all in the final 60 kilometers of a total of 178, Peyresourde and Val Louron, both of the first category, will also be climbed. For Thursday the classic chained of Tourmalet Y Light Ardiden, in a shorter stage than usual (130 km.), given that the organization has decided this year not to add a third port ahead, such as Aspin or Hourquette d’Ancizan.

Among the second classified, Rigoberto Urn, and the eighth, Enric Mas, there is barely 1:53 difference. Between one and the other, in order, they are located Jonas vingegaard (at 0:16 from the Colombian), Richard Carapaz (0:17), Ben o’connor (0:40), Wilco Kelderman (0:58) and Alexey Lutsenko (1:43). Residual differences in the fight for the podium facing the two remaining Pyrenean stages.

The purest climbers will be the ones who are most obliged to move the race, since they know that they will give themselves time in the time trial. This is especially the case with Carapaz, Mas and O’Connor, whom the advantage acquired in an escape took by surprise in this fight. The Ecuadorian, wrapped by the most powerful Ineos, has been the bravest of all the contenders on the podium, but so far he has lacked a point of brilliance to shake off Urn and Vingegaard and ascend to the provisional podium.

It has been difficult for Mas in some stages -especially in Mont Ventoux– keep up with the rhythm of those three men and Pogacar, but in the Movistar they trust in his condition as a long distance runner and that he tends to go from less to more in the great tours, offering his best performance in the third weeks. Quite the opposite of what usually happens to Lutsenko Y Kelderman, which already showed signs of weakness on Sunday in Andorra. Urn is a hymn to regularity and Vingegaard has the asterisk that this is his first Tour. Unknowns to be resolved in the next two days.